Category Archives: A Raw Cleanse

Living Foods – so much to love!

It’s been exactly one week since I completed Natasha Kyssa’s 28-day Simply Raw Detox programI ran into a friend and follower over the weekend and she asked if I had a big celebration to mark the end of this raw food cleanse.  I told her I did.  The truth is I celebrated with a bottle (well half) of kombucha and a big plate of greens and sprouts.

I feel so absolutely wonderful from eating raw foods for the past 28 days that I hesitate to veer too far away from the raw food diet.  I have more energy and focus, especially during those long afternoons.  My fingernails are long and strong instead of chipped and peeling and, as an added bonus, I  dropped a couple of pounds. 🙂

Natasha Kyssa’s program put me back on track by breaking the bad habits I acquired over the winter months.  It helped me recognize the patterns of these bad habits and the reasons for particular food cravings.  The great thing now is that I have no cravings!  I am eating to live and not living to eat.

Yesterday, my husband and I took our eldest daughter to an event in downtown Ottawa.  When it was finished, it was about 3 pm and we were thinking of places we could stop to get a bite to eat.  It was a hot and sunny day and my daughter asked for a fruit smoothie, so we stopped at the perfect place!

simplyraw

SimplyRaw Express is located on Wellington Street in our nation’s capital – Ottawa.  Not only juices and smoothies, this quaint eatery has a good selection of salads, wraps, and desserts.  Guess who made our smoothies? Natasha Kyssa!

We enjoyed a Mango Lassi, Strawberry Fields, and Peaceful Warrior smoothie and split a mexican wrap stuffed with black beans, veggies, and cilantro.  Absolutely mouth-watering!  I am now on a mission to replicate these flavours at home.  By the way, mango and parsley are an awesome combination.

This was my treat this afternoon – to share with my husband, regrettably. 😉 This is SimplyRaw’s Mocha Cheezecake.  Who needs dairy or sugar in their cheezecake?  This was freakin’ delicious!

cheezecake

Next raw food cleanse is in October.  Are you in?

I need to come clean

I had the greatest intentions last week of converting my kitchen into one mean sprouting and fermentation facility.   If you recall, my plan was to embrace my third go of Natasha Kyssa’s The Simply Raw Living Foods Detox with enthusiasm and my utmost devotion.  I will be honest.  This past week was not a good week.  Life just got in the way or, as the saying goes life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

I won’t bore you with all the things that went wrong this past week.  Let’s just say I was a jack-of-all-trades for about 22 hours each and every day. 😉

Week 3 of my cleanse had me introduce more living foods to my diet.  I ate a lot of sprouts, dark leafy greens, green smoothies and juices, and shots of wheatgrass juice and E3 Live.  E3 Live is a frozen/liquid form of blue-green algae that comes from ocean water.  You can read more about this superfood here.

I reduced my consumption of extra virgin olive oil which meant that my salads on most days were topped with lemon juice only.  By the end of the week, I was getting pretty darn tired of sprouts and salads. I wanted Natasha’s seed cheese and puddings but because of my hectic week, I only had time to throw (I do mean this literally) greens and sprouts on my plate. I was also feeling quite irritable as I was making the kids their dinner (so much for cooking with love), as I wanted to dive right into their meal of soups and pasta.

So, what did I do?  I turned to my support group on Facebook and ranted.   Then I cheated. (gasp!)

I had “lightly” steamed asparagus a couple of nights on my salad.  Asparagus is by far a favourite of mine.  I then met a friend at a local coffee shop and ordered an herbal tea and had a couple of her raw power balls that are to die for.  Her power balls are raw,  but they contain maple syrup and almond butter – both foods not allowed this week.  The following day I returned to the same coffee shop with a friend and ordered a black coffee.  Gosh it was good.  On Sunday, the last day of week 3, my daughter and I met some friends for our annual pre-Stars On Ice lunch.  The restaurant of choice was Japanese.  I ate more than my share of avocado and sweet potato tempura sushi with a side of my very own pot of green tea.

So much for following the plan 100 per cent. 😦

I’m not going to beat myself up over it though.  Today is the 23rd day of this 28-day plan.  I will get back on the horse to finish this week proudly.

I will end this post by sharing with you my breakfast,  mid-morning snack, and lunch. All of this with a lot of water in between.

As I end this, the sun is shining and the temperature outside has finally reached a normal high.  A walk into town might be nice.  I think a little fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will help me stay positive. 🙂

Wraps and Sandwiches in the Raw!

It occurred to me last weekend that if I plan on being successful on Natasha Kyssa’s detox program,  I had better get organized and start making some lists.  So, over a warm mug of Lemon Water, I poured over all my raw food books in search of some delicious and satisfying meals for the week.  That job was pretty easy.  The hardest part was narrowing my list down, as all the dishes looked absolutely mouth-watering.

books

Along with 40 other adventurous gals,  I am entering week 2 of the program.  Unlike last week, week 2 meals must be 100 per cent raw and vegan.  Sprouts and leafy greens are to be the focus of each or most of our meals.

Since I like to try new things in the kitchen, I decided that I would make one or two dishes that I have never ever made.  I have had great success with crepes in my dehydrator, so it only made sense to give wraps a try.  As well, I recall last summer at the cottage when my sister-in-law had brought me a sample of one of her wraps.  It was so vibrant and delicious stuffed with sprouts and a variety of vegetables.  I decided I would make the same wrap.  By Sunday afternoon, I had Judita Wignall‘s Garden of Eden Pesto Wraps in my dehydrator.

On Monday, my husband and I sat down to wraps stuffed with a delicious pesto spread, broccoli sprouts, red pepper, red onion strips,  sliced avocado,  Julienne cucumber and shredded carrot.  Basically, I stuffed them with what was available in my fridge.  We ate our pesto wraps with a mixed green salad.  This meal carried my husband and I through to dinner.  In fact, I didn’t feel like much more than a smoothie later that same day.

tomatowraps

Still thinking of wraps,  the next day we enjoyed sunflower herb pate in collard leaves.  I stuffed the collards with the same veggies as the previous day’s wraps.  On this day,  I was craving something a little sweet which was odd.  I have always been a person that could pass on sweets.  In fear of breaking down and grabbing my daughters’ chocolate chip cookie stash, I catered to this craving by throwing some chopped dates in our mixed green salad.  And just to be sure, I made a dressing of cold-pressed olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a good splash of maple syrup.

collard

SUNFLOWER HERB PATE (taken from The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual)

  • 2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp raw tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • dash cayenne
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste with salt.

Now, I’m excited about sharing this next creation!  I wanted a bread similar in texture to sandwich bread.  I chose to make Ani Phyo‘s Zucchini Bread.  I changed up the recipe a bit by adding one garlic clove (did you know that garlic is an aphrodisiac?), some chopped onion, and some fresh dill to the mix.  Later that night, I couldn’t resist the garlic and onion aroma any longer so I opened up the dehyrdrator and picked away at the sides of the bread.  Just so the sides looked more symmetrical, of course. 😉

This was my delicious sandwich yesterday afternoon – a pesto spread, tomato and sprout sandwich!  I had another for dinner and a piece this morning as my mid-morning snack.

sandwich

RAW ZUCCHINI BREAD (adapted from Ani Phyo’s “Raw Food Essentials”)

  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • a sprig or two of fresh dill
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flax meal

Place the zucchini, oil, salt and garlic in a food processor, and process into a puree.  Add the chopped onion and dill and pulse processor a few times.  Process the almond meal and flax meal into the batter.  Spread the batter evenly on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate at 104 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 hours.  Flip directly onto a mesh tray and dehydrate for another 4-6 hours. This bread is moist and flexible.

Today is leftover day.  I have a busy night at the skating rink, so I will pack myself another wrap, an apple, and a jar of green smoothie.   On busy days, I make more than enough smoothie to fill one or two jars as a snack later in the day.

jarsmoothie

I feel great!  I love that I don’t feel hungry throughout the day on this program.  I also love the fact that I am now making foods I may never have tried if it wasn’t for this cleanse.  I love that my family will share these foods with me.  I will mention, as well, that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE  the fact that my fingernails appear stronger and longer (I’ve never had nice nails) and I can comfortably wear my blue jeans all day long!

It only took 3 runs at it, but I finally learned that the key to being successful on this program is to be organized.  Make lists and keep your fridge stocked with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

“When the body is cleansed, it becomes more efficient at digestion, assimilation, and elimination. Detoxifying strengthens the immune system and give your body greater energy. It also reduces inflammation and results in a slimmer body.  Skin becomes softer and more youthful in appearance; your eyes sparkle and become brighter, you will shed excess weight, and you will feel much more vibrant, happy, and alive!”  – Natasha Kyssa

Sunday Morning Sunshine Smoothie

I’m just finishing off day 7 of the SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox.  This is a 28-day cleanse written by Ottawa’s own Natasha Kyssa, a raw foods chef and healthy lifestyle coach.  This is my third time in the past year that I have tried this cleanse and I must admit that each time it gets easier.  This time is particularly fun because my sister and sister-in-law are doing the same cleanse.  Not to mention, we are 3 out of 40 plus members of one very enthusiastic support group.

I was feeling great all last week until Friday night rolled around.  I was sitting at the ice rink (like I do every Friday night) watching my daughter skate when suddenly my throat started to ache.  My immediate response was to blame this on the kindergarten class I had been teaching all week.  A few of the little ones had pretty bad colds.  I was so upset!  I thought I was finally over the winter “hump” and the likelihood of getting sick now was next to nil.  I have had a good winter and I am very proud to say that I’ve been able to fight off the number of colds and flu bugs that have made their way throughout our small community.  To get a cold or the flu now just seemed cruel!

By the time my daughter had finished skating and we made the 50 minute trek back home, my nose was running like a tap, my throat was on fire, and I was nearly in tears.

Thankfully, this brief episode of being ill was short-lived.  Today, I feel so energetic! I can’t remember the last time I had so much energy.  I am now wondering if the symptoms I was experiencing was a reaction to my body releasing toxins.  Napping and lots of water probably lessened the severity of my symptoms.

The sun was not shining this morning, but I felt cheery.  I decided that after my wheatgrass shot and mug of fire water that I would make a delicious tropical drink that the whole family could enjoy.

This smoothie was perfect for our lazy Sunday morning.  I found the recipe in Judita Wignall’s “Going Raw” book which has been parked on my kitchen counter since day 1 of this detox (her new book is on my wish list).   It was my husband’s idea to add the lemon and lemon rind giving this smoothie a refreshing taste and altering the hue to a beautiful shade of yellow.  I purchased the coconut meat from Wanigan Organics during my last visit to Toronto.

coconutsmoothie

SUNSHINE SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut meat
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • about 1/8 of organic lemon and lemon rind (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup ice

Process in high-power blender until smooth.  Satisfying and refreshing.

Looking forward to week 2! 🙂

Kale Salad With a Kick

kalesalad1

I finished day 3 of Natasha Kyssa’s “SimplyRaw Detox” with this beautiful and slightly spicy kale salad.  By far, this has to be the best kale salad I have ever tasted.

The recipe is from Brendan Brazier’s “Whole Foods to Thrive”.  Early this morning over a warm cup of Fire Water, I earmarked several pages of this book.  It never really dawned on me until today of the large number of raw recipes Brendan actually has in this book.  This kale salad recipe popped out as it contains a good pinch of cayenne pepper, just like my early morning Fire Water.

This salad was my dinner tonight, so I gave it a little extra by adding a handful of sunflower sprouts and a handful of raw pumpkin seeds.

QUICK KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD

  • 1 head of kale, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • handful of sprouts
  • handful of raw seeds or nuts
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together the oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss in chopped avocado and chopped tomato and mix.  Add kale and green onions and toss.  You may want to use your clean hands to help “wilt” the kale and soften the avocado to a creamier texture.  Once kale has been coated, toss in sprouts and seeds.  Serve immediately.

Day 2 of Going Raw for 28 days!

Last week, my good sister-in-law, Sharon, initiated a Raw Food Detox Support Group for friends and family interested in going on a 28-day raw food cleanse beginning April 1st.   I immediately jumped at the idea of joining!  April is the perfect time to rid the body of toxins accumulated over the winter months.  After all, it is at this time that I (normally) decide to de-clutter closets and dust those often neglected shelves in the house.  Why not do the same for my body?

The program we have chosen is Natasha Kyssa’s “SimplyRaw Detox”.  In her book,  “The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual”, Natasha sums up nicely our reasons for choosing this program:

“The program isn’t as restrictive as fasting and is easy to maintain during a regular working schedule. Unlike many other programs, you won’t feel deprived or go hungry, and the abundance of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will supply the body with the daily nutrients and energy that is necessary for optimum health.”

No supplements or pills are required, just clean “live” food.

This will be my third time on this program.  The last two times I did feel the need on some days to tailor the program to fit my busy schedule.  On those days, I kept my meals clean, but indulged in cooked quinoa or steamed veggies where all my meals were to be 100 per cent raw.  I didn’t beat myself up over it, as this is actually something Natasha suggests for those not ready to go all the way with program.  At the end of the program, I still received positive results and it allowed me to continue my healthy eating habits of adding more raw foods to my diet long after the 28 days.

This time, I plan to follow the program 100 per cent!  I have a wonderful group of gals (41 of us in total!)  who will be there for meal ideas, suggestions and support.  I also have a very encouraging family who enjoy tasting my raw goodies and enjoy sharing a raw meal with me at the dinner table.

This is the end of day 2 and I wanted to share with you my food diary for the day.

When I woke up this morning, I did not reach for the coffee carafe.  Instead, I had a 2 oz. shot of wheatgrass juice then sipped on a mug of Fire Water.  I love telling the kids that I am sipping on Fire Water (since they assume I am the Dragon Lady on most days).  I followed my water with one organic apple and ate a piece of Fruit and Nut Manna Bread as my mid-morning snack.

NATASHA’S FIRE WATER

  • 10 oz. purified water (warm)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • a sprinkle of cayenne pepper

For lunch, my husband and I sat down to a big plate of mixed greens and sunflower sprouts topped with shredded carrot, chopped green onion, chopped cucumber, a sprinkle of hemp seeds, and a little lemon vinaigrette.  Our salad was accompanied by a large blueberry milkshake.  In the mid-afternoon, I had another wheatgrass shot and 1 medium peeled carrot.

rawsalad

LEMON VINAIGRETTE FOR MIXED GREENS

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic, minced

Stir together with a fork and pour desired amount over salad.  This dressing recipe does make more than enough for two large salads.

BLUEBERRY MILKSHAKE

  • 2 cups purified water
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 small handful of kale leaves
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds, soaked (you can use sunflower seeds too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle nutmeg

Blend all ingredients until smooth and serve.

For dinner, I made a plate of zucchini noodles with my spiral slicer and steamed a pot of organic broccoli.  You can see a photo of this slicer in action here.  I topped my zucchini noodles with Ani Phyo’s Pesto.  I love this recipe.  Instead of olive oil and cheese, an avocado, nutritional yeast, and miso are added for an out-of-this-world creamy and flavourful topping for any pasta or wrap.

ANI PHYO’S PESTO

  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and raw (I used raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon miso, unpasteurized (I used yellow miso)
  • 1 cup basil leaves, fresh
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup avocado
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dulse flakes

* I doubled this recipe for a family of 4.  Chop nuts in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process to mix well.  Add heaping tablespoons of pesto to noodles and stir.

zucchini

Our 9 year-old daughter has a hard time with zucchini noodles.  She loved the pesto with some brown rice penne noodles, though!  This was her plate before she went off to dance class earlier this evening.

bnoodles

The next couple of days I am scheduled to teach in an elementary school where nuts are not permitted.  I plan on taking a few pieces of rustic sweet onion flatbread and kale chips all now in my dehydrator.  I will also take along another good helping of mixed greens, raw veggies, fresh fruit, some herbal tea and lots of water, of course.

I can’t  wait for this month to progress!  I will soon feel lighter on my feet and have an exuberant amount of energy.  I also look forward to trading in the sweats for a good pair skinny jeans. Yay! 🙂